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Scrap Dronacharya, it has lost sanctity, blasts boxer Akhil Kumar

Akhil Kumar, the Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medallist in boxing, says the Dronacharya award has been riddled with controversies and has called for the award to be quashed.

other sports Updated: Aug 18, 2017 22:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Akhil Kumar,Dronacharya award,Khel Ratna
Akhil Kumar, who won the gold medal in boxing in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth games, has called for the Dronacharya award to be scrapped.(HT Photo)

Akhil Kumar, the Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medallist in boxing, said the Dronacharya award, presented to the country’s top coaches in different disciplines, has lost its sanctity and should be scrapped.

“The country’s most prestigious sports awards have been riddled with controversies. Every year there is one controversy or the other. Either the system should be transparent or it should be quashed,” Akhil Kumar said on the sidelines of the launch of the inaugural edition of KD Jadhav Memorial Kushti Championship on Friday.

Akhil Kumar, who had lost in the quarterfinal of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, said: “If we go by tradition, Guru Dronacharya spotted Arjuna. But the current system has become so appalling that top players have a big say in nominating Dronacharya.”

“Guidelines should be revamped and one sportsperson should be allowed to recommend only one coach in his or her lifetime. There have been cases where one athlete has recommend names of different coaches every year for Dronacharya and the ministry has accepted all the recommendations,” Akhil Kumar said.

Incidentally, this year Sakshi Malik, bronze medallist at the Rio Olympics, has recommended two coaches — Kuldeep Malik and Mandeep Singh — for Dronacharya. But since the panel headed by Pullela Gopichand wasn’t able to reach a consensus, both names were rejected.

Kumar, who recently made his debut in professional boxing, also said, the system of awarding points to the national sports awards winners should be made public.

However, India’s only individual Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bhindra, who was also present, didn’t want to be get dragged into the debate. When asked who was his main coach who guided him to the pinnacle of his sporting career, he said ‘several’. “My new book is coming. There is a mention of all the coaches who have helped me reach the zenith of my career,” he said.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 17:11 IST